Question: What can you tell me about End Time Delusion by Steve Wohlberg? A friend of mine read the book and says that all I have heard about the Rapture is wrong and that until 100 years ago the Rapture had never been taught. He gave the book to a pastor friend, who said it is true--he gave the book to other pastors, and now they have doubts or have changed their views of the Rapture. He also seems to be anti-Israel.
Response: End Time Delusions, by Seventh-day Adventist Steve Wohlberg is circulating, parroting the teachings of Ellen G. White, including Replacement Theology.
Wohlberg uses Margaret MacDonald as "the smoking gun" (End Time, p. 129) behind John Darby's pre-trib teaching on the Rapture. Wohlberg doesn't give the text of MacDonald's vision, otherwise one would see: "I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation, surrounded by nets and entanglements, about to be tried, and many about to be deceived and fall. Now will THE WICKED be revealed, with all power and signs and lying wonders, so that if it were possible the very elect will be deceived....This is the fiery trial which is to try us....It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus; but Oh! it will be a fiery trial. Every soul will be shaken to the very centre. The enemy will try to shake every thing we have believed-but the trial of real faith will be found to honour and praise and glory. Nothing but what is of God will stand" (Margaret MacDonald's revelation as published in The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets In the Catholic Apostolic Church, 1861). This is not a description of a pre-trib Rapture. Even preterists understand that Darby spoke of a pre-trib Rapture in 1827, three full years before MacDonald's "vision."
Regarding Replacement Theology, Ellen G. White prophesied, "The Jews have long ceased to have any significance." Consequently, she states, "Palestine will never become their home!" She goes on, "I was pointed to some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem; and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes....I saw that Satan had greatly deceived some in this thing....I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up; and Satan was doing his utmost to lead the minds of the children of the Lord into these things now in the gathering time" (Early Writings of Mrs. White, page 75).
White didn't see the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948, but many of her followers certainly have. Wohlberg should take note and learn. It can't be pointed out too often that although Deuteronomy 28 lists the fearsome penalty for Israel's disobedience, the penalty is loss of residence (for a time) but not loss of ownership. In his writings, Wohlberg selectively quotes Scripture, saying "Zionism did not meet [the] spiritual condition in 1948." This "spiritual condition," in Wohlberg's opinion, is "if they return and obey His voice, then He will regather them." (Exploding the Israel Deception, p. 70). Scripture tells us that the Lord will bring Israel back into the land before their endtime national repentance (Jer:5:10, 5:18, 30:11; 46:28; Ezk 11:13, etc.). In Zechariah 14, the Lord returns to save Israel before their prophesied repentance. If the Lord returns to save Israel in the land, they must return prior to this event!
Wohlberg writes, "Because of today's global religious confusion, especially about Bible prophecy, millions of the Lord's people now believe false theories about the end of time" (Ibid, p. 101). Along with E. G. White, Wohlberg consistently implies that any who hold a differing view (i.e., futurists) are part of the "endtime system." Prophecy, although misinterpreted by White and Wohlberg, is nevertheless a recruiting tool for their "faithful remnant."
On page 74, Wohlberg quotes Dr. Henry Grattan Guinness, adding that he "was considered to be one of the three greatest preachers of his day...." Wohlberg, mind you, disagrees with much of what Guinness writes, yet he calls Irishman Guinness "the Northern Spurgeon" and "a deep student of prophecy." The quote Wohlberg uses from Guinness reads: "There is not, and cannot be, any Jewish Temple." This appears to support Wohlberg's replacement theology. The excerpt, however, is incomplete.
In truth, Guinness fully believed in the restoration of Israel to her land. "Guinness...measured off eras of 2,520 years from the many consecutive starting points in Biblical history when first Israel and then later Judah were swept away into captivity to Assyria and Babylon. On the strength of his findings, he confidently pointed ahead to the years 1917, 1923, and 1934 as bound to see movement relating to the restoration of Israel to her land" (Guinness Is Good for You: Memories of the Legacy of Rev. H. Grattan Guinness, D.D., F.R.A.S., Compiled by J. L. Haynes, "The Vision of the Seven Times of Daniel 4"). Interestingly, "1917" was the date that the Balfour Declaration was issued.
Finally, Wohlberg misuses history to support his theology. For example, he says that during the "time of Constantine, a large portion of the church compromised key Bible truths and decided to line up with the Roman State" (End Time, p. 88). Constantine was indeed detrimental to the early church (see 11/98 TBC). What Wohlberg seeks to prove, however, is that Constantine introduced Sunday worship, a key point for SDAs. On the contrary, Constantine's decree reads as follows: "On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed" (Constantine, March 7, 321. Codex Justinianus lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380, note 1). Constantine mandated a day off, not a day of worship. In choosing this day, however, he was probably influenced by those already meeting on Sunday, as Acts:20:7 documents. Much more could be said, but these points begin to show the problems of Wohlberg's book.